The Linden Endowment for the Arts breathes Second Life into Romeo + Juliet

Romeo + Juliet on the Basilique Pier - Pontecchi Mercutio.
Romeo + Juliet celebrate their Second Life on the Basilique Pier: Il Pontile Mercuzio. Photo by Strawberry Singh

Romeo + Juliet in Second Life’s last performance of its fourth season is scheduled for Valentine’s Day – February 14th, 2013. You’ll not want to miss this special presentation with your sweetheart – what a way to celebrate!

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We are pleased to announce that the near future of Romeo + Juliet in Second Life has been secured through June 2014 with a generous grant from the Linden Endowment for the Arts’ (LEA) Artists-in-Residence program, Round 6. The LEA is a collaborative venture between Linden Lab and the arts community, guided by the LEA committee (see below).

The Basilique Performing Arts Company’s proposal was one of 20 selected among 40+ submitted proposals to receive a full region sim. We will use this grant to create an interactive exhibit dedicated to the story of Romeo + Juliet. We will open the show in phrases, with the first phase opening March 1st, 2014.

A whole new interactive experience

For this exhibit, we aim to recreate the setting of Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet as an interactive and educational multi-media experience where everyone will not only be able to enjoy regularly scheduled performances of the play, but will also have the opportunity to participate in re-creations of iconic scenes where you can pose for photographs, film machinima, or carry out RP scenes. Visitors will also be able to engage in an interactive hunt/game based on challenges and clues surrounding the play, and the life of William Shakespeare.

We envision building a full, open-air sim laid out on ground level making the scenes in Romeo + Juliet come to life. We hope that becoming associated with LEA will help us expand our reach to a broader audience.

At the centre of the sim will be the Basilique Playhouse where the play will be performed on a weekly basis, beginning in March.

The aim of this project is to build on our past work in presenting the play, augmenting the experience for visitors beyond spectator status, but rather as involved, participating, and interactive “actors” in the work, in three dimensions.

Extending on the themes of the play, and surrounding the playhouse, will be four highly-immersive and distinct quarters giving the visitor the impression they have stepped back in time.

Explore the scenes behind the play!

The Veronese Piazza: In the first quarter of the sim, we will build a public piazza and streets that one would find in Verona at the time of the play’s setting.

Casa Capuleti: In the second quarter of the sim we will build the Capulet Mansion (site of the ball where Romeo and Juliet first meet) and the famous orchard and balcony under which he woos her. Within the mansion will be Juliet’s bedroom.

The Town of Mantua: In the third quarter of the sim, we will recreate Mantua, where Romeo is banished after killing Tybalt.

The Chapel: In the fourth quarter of the sim, we will build a Chapel in which we will find Friar Laurence’s cell, the churchyard and the Capulet family tomb where Romeo and Juliet find their eternal rest.

Get involved in gameplay!

In each location, you’ll be encouraged to follow the HUD-based interactive gameplay (based on the story of Romeo + Juliet, supplemented with educational puzzles – utilising multimedia presentations as clues – surrounding trivia about the play and the author’s life and times).

Alternatively, if you prefer to not engage in the gameplay, you will still be able to participate in static scenes, in which you can pose and take photographs (based on iconic images from the play), or play out RP scenarios should you choose (e.g proposals, weddings, dating, and dancing, etc.)

Mark your calendars!

We will build the sim progressively, opening quarters as they are completed. We expect the sim to open to the public March 1st, and to be completed within two months from that date. For more news as we open, follow this blog using the button on the top left hand sidebar.

On behalf of Harvey Crabsticks, and the Basilique Performing Arts Company, I’d like to thank the members of the LEA Committee for honouring us with this grant:

  • Honour McMillan
  • JayJay Zinfanwe
  • LaPiscean Liberty
  • Oberon Onmura
  • PatriciaAnne Daviau
  • Quan Lavender
  • Solo Mornington
  • Werner Kurosawa

LEA Advisors

  • Chic Aeon
  • Jo Ellsmere
  • Secret Rage

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8 thoughts on “The Linden Endowment for the Arts breathes Second Life into Romeo + Juliet

    1. Thank you, it’s all a bit of a perfect storm with preparing for Paradise Lost and now the LEA grant for Romeo + Juliet, and of course there is one other thing in the works that we’re keeping closed-lipped about for a while longer.

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